Understanding Emotional Eating

Emotional eating refers to eating food when we are lonely, upset, or even when we are celebrating. In other words, we are eating because of our emotions. How does this emotional eating develop? Why do we do it? How do we stop ourselves from eating away our emotions?

Developing Emotional Eating

Emotional eating can often be traced back to our childhoods. We had a bad day at school and mom made it all better by baking cookies. Perhaps you and your friends used to save your lunch money to go and buy snacks after school to celebrate surviving the day. Either way, the food is associated with comforting feelings that make us feel better when we are down.

Continuing to Emotionally Eat

We know that eating certain foods makes us feel better, but how does it work? Since these foods are linked to good memories we are taken back to that time when we eat them. Our brain releases feel-good chemicals that tell us everything is all right. When we are upset our brain reminds us that those foods will make us feel better causing use to eat them when we are upset.

How Do We Stop It?

The best way to stop emotionally eating is to stop associating food with your feelings. This is not an easy task, but it can be accomplished by retraining your brain. When you have something to celebrate do so by going out with friends. When you are having a bad day lift yourself up by spending time with someone special or watching a comforting TV show. Avoid putting food or alcohol into your body when you are emotional, and start associating healthier actions with these emotions. Eventually you will break the bonds on your emotional eating and begin living a happier, healthier life.

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